For those who have recognized that Catherine was merely a vehicle for getting “Spanishe Work” to Great Britain, it is widely believed that the style was actually born in Morroco. This, I believe, is true to an extent. One must look at the history of that part of the world to have a better understanding of this embroidery. Do not forget the importantance of the Byzantine Empire and all that was “borrowed” from that powerful and large influence–the beauty of the churches, mosaic works, the opulence of gold work and use of other gems in art. And the weight of one’s faith or connection to religion. One must also remember the importance of trade routes to the Far East, i.e., The Silk Road. Textiles and fibers for making and enhancing textitles were valuable trade resources at both ends of “the Road.” All of these influences informed the ultimate creation of Catherine’s world and her stitching.
When the Islamic world began to stretch out and occupy more lands, one faction gained power on the Iberian Peninsula. This group is said to have come from Morroco and the term associated with that time in Spain was “Moorish.” It has also been suggested that these “Moors” were tolerant of other cultures in the land they occupied. This might be because they did not raze the old churches and community places, but instead embellished them and augmented them to meet the needs of their Islamic faith. In fact, they were as ruthless as any other colonizer in history. (To be continued….)